Playing Middle Pair Cautiously, Then Seeking Value With Backdoor Flush
Today's hand is a deep-stacked tournament hand in which the effective stacks were 100 big blinds. It's one in which I flop middle pair and play middle pair as I should — that is, cautiously. Then I get lucky to back into a much stronger hand with which I looked for big value.
The blinds were 200/400 with a 25 ante, and it folded to me in the lojack seat where I had been dealt J♦10♦. When it's deep-stacked like this I often will open for about 3x, though here I raised just over 2.5x (1,050) which is fine.
It folded to the button where a player raised to 2,800. I had about 80,000 to begin the hand and he had about 40,000, so the effective stacks were 100 BB. The blinds stepped aside and I called, meaning the pot was 6,650 when the flop came Q♥J♣5♦.
With this marginal made hand, I'm looking to check-call most of the time, but after I checked my opponent checked behind.
The turn brought the 3♦, giving me a flush draw. I could have bet, but I checked once more and this time my opponent bet 3,000. I made the very easy call, then got there when the A♦ came on the river.
There was 13,650 in the middle. I could have led with a bet here. In fact, may people do in this spot. But I prefer checking because it's hard to get paid by leading after such a river card. Checking also gives my opponent an opportunity to bluff, which he should be doing a decent amount of time.
Take a look and see what my opponent decided to do and how things turned out, and listen as well to my analysis along the way:
Whenever you make a backdoor flush like this, you definitely want to raise which is what I did. Note as well my sizing with the river check-raise — an amount less than his total remaining stack that he can conceivably call.
Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,700,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.